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No. 5 Tsitsipas, No. 7 Zverev set up blockbuster final in Acapulco
The two Top 10 stars will battle for the ATP 500 title on Saturday night. The Greek has beaten the German the last five times they’ve played.
Published Mar 20, 2021
No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas and No.7 Alexander Zverev will clash in the final of Acapulco on Saturday night after ending the runs of a pair of surprise semifinalists at the ATP 500 event on Friday night.
Zverev was the first to book his spot in the championship match, winning an all-German clash with No. 71-ranked Dominik Koepfer, 6-4, 7-6 (5), after two hours and nine grueling minutes on court.
The match could have easily gone to a third. After Zverev won the first set, Koepfer—who was playing the first ATP semifinal of his career—built a 5-2 lead in the second set. But Zverev clawed back and took it to a tie-break, and after letting a 5-2 lead become 5-all, he won two more points to end it.
“I want to continue building on the form that I’ve had this year, and I’m doing that,” he said. “I’m happy to be in the finals—I know it’s going to be a difficult match tomorrow, but I’m looking forward to it.
“I made the semifinals here in 2018 and the finals in 2019, so this is a tournament I want to win.”
Zverev is now a win away from his biggest title since winning his biggest career title—the ATP Finals at the end of 2018. All three tournaments he’s won since then have been ATP 250s.
The German is into his 23rd overall ATP final, going 13-9 in his first 22.
Tsitsipas followed Zverev into the final with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Lorenzo Musetti, who’s been the story of the tournament, scoring his first Top 10 win over No. 9 Diego Schwartzman en route to his first ATP 500 semifinal—he was also the first teenager to reach the semis here since Rafael Nadal in 2005.
But Tsitsipas was just too solid on the night, winning five games in a row from 1-all to take the first set and four games in a row from 2-3 in the second set to close it out after an hour and 20 minutes.
Tsitsipas finished the match with more than twice as many winners as unforced errors, 23 to 11, with his forehand the biggest weapon of the night, producing 17 winners to just 6 unforced errors.
“I’m happy to be playing the game I’ve been playing so far this week,” the Greek said. “It’s important for me to go out on a daily basis and perform at my peak, and I’ve been doing so in every match.”
Musetti’s numbers were strong, too, with 19 winners and 13 unforced errors. The No. 120-ranked 19-year-old will make his Top 100 debut on Monday, becoming the youngest member of the elite.
“Definitely we’re going to see a lot from him in the future,” Tsitsipas said. “I really like his game. He has a very unique one-handed backhand, and he’s creating a lot of opportunities with that. He’s an all-around player with lots of talent, and he’s shown it this week, and many other weeks in the past.”
Tsitsipas is now a win away from the second-biggest title of his career—he won the ATP Finals at the end of 2019, and all four of his other career ATP titles have come at ATP 250s.
The Greek is through to his 13th career ATP final, going 5-7 in his first 12.
Tsitsipas leads Zverev in their head-to-head, 5-1, with Zverev winning their first career meeting in Washington DC in 2018, then Tsitsipas winning their last five meetings in a row, in Canada in 2018, Madrid, Beijing and the ATP Finals in 2019, and most recently a 6-1, 6-4 win at the ATP Cup in 2020.
“I’m really looking forward to the final,” Tsitsipas said. “It’s an important battle I’ll have to face in front of me. Sascha is someone that I’ve played with in the past, and matches against him are never easy.
“I’ll take it game by game.”